Skip to main content

Kellogg and Plessinger family papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S1480

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence and documents of the Kellogg and Plessinger families ranging from 1832 to 1920. There are a large number of letters from Francis Nelson Kellogg to his parents and sister while serving with Company K, 75th Indiana Regiment during the U.S. Civil War and typewritten transcriptions of most of his letters; letters from Benjamin F. Wiley and James B. Plessinger while they were serving in the war; and a letter and two invoices from J. W. Keely, acting assistant paymaster on the supply ship U.S.S. New National (1862-1864).

The collection also contains Nelson Kellogg's teacher certification from Ashtabula County, Ohio (November 13, 1834); various receipts of James B. Plessinger and others (1856-1902); several letters sent to Martha Kellogg from Margaret Forgy of Carlisle, Ohio (1861-1862); Plessinger's Civil War discharge paper (February 10, 1863); a letter to Mrs. Kellogg from a friend that discusses President Andrew Johnson's "Swing Around the Circle" reception in Toledo, Ohio (September 9, 1866); letters from Benjamin and Thomas McAtee regarding the death of the Kellogg's granddaughter Nellie (January, 1868); indentures (1872-1887); Plessinger's commission as Wells County sheriff (October 29, 1878); a patent deed for the Victor Steam Washing Machine Company (September 7, 1885); and pension documents regarding Plessinger's Civil War service (1889-1920).


  • 1832-1920

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

The Kellogg and Plessinger families were early pioneers of Bluffton, Wells County, Indiana. Nelson Kellogg was born March 2, 1806 at Starksboro, Vermont to David and Christiana Kellogg. He and his family moved to Ashtabula County, Ohio in 1833. He married the widow Rachel Mann Wiley (1804-1882) in January, 1838 and they moved to Bluffton in July, 1839. Nelson was chosen the first mayor of Bluffton in 1849 and also served the community as justice of the peace and postmaster. He died on February 21, 1891.

Rachel Kellogg was the mother of eleven children, including her sons Benjamin F. Wiley, born October 16, 1830,and Francis Nelson Kellogg who was born on November 18, 1843. Both Benjamin and Francis served in Company K, 75th Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. Francis mustered in as a corporal in July, 1862 and mustered out in June, 1865 as a sergeant. Benjamin mustered in as a sergeant with the 75th, but deserted on December 31, 1863 and was demoted to private. He then served as adjutant with the 138th Regiment in 1864 and as a captain with Company E, 153rd Regiment in 1865. Benjamin died on July 27, 1906 and Francis passed away that same year on November 17th.

The Kellogg's daughter Martha was born in Bluffton on April 10, 1841. She married James B. Plessinger on May 3, 1864 and they had six children. James was born in Darke County, Ohio on September 7, 1837 to John and Elizabeth Plessinger. His family moved to Bluffton when he was around 5 years old. In 1861 he enlisted in Company A, 47th Indiana Infantry as a musician and was discharged on March 10, 1863 due to disability. He served as the sheriff of Wells County from 1876 to 1880 and as mayor of Bluffton from 1900 to 1902. He was also a well known auctioneer and sale crier and died on March 22, 1904. Martha passed away at the age of 88 on February 9, 1930.

Sources: "Benjamin F. Wiley." Indiana Civil War Soldier Database Index, 1861-1865. Accessed January 16, 2018. "Benjamin Franklin Wiley." Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011. Accessed January 16, 2018. "Francis N. Nelson." Indiana Civil War Soldier Database Index, 1861-1865. Accessed January 8, 2018.

"City's Oldest Native Woman Citizen Dies: Mrs. Martha E. Plessinger Dies Sunday and Funeral Tuesday." Bluffton Evening News-Banner (IN), February 10, 1930.

"Col. Plessinger's Demise Causes General Sorrow." Bluffton Banner (IN), March 23, 1904.

"Obituary." Bluffton Banner (IN), November 30, 1882.

"Obituary." Bluffton Banner (IN), February 26, 1891.

"Taps Sounded for Veteran Nelson Kellogg." Bluffton Chronicle (IN), November 21, 1906.


0.04 Cubic Feet (4 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from M. C. Severin.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2018/01/17 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2018/01/17 by Laura Eliason.
Kellogg and Plessinger family papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.